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10 basic Internet safety rules that you should implement

On International Computer Security Day, ESET shares a list of the most important Internet security rules that every digital user should incorporate into their daily routine… Take note!

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10 basic Internet safety rules that you should implement

Since 1988, November 30 is the International Day of Computer Security. The objective of this date is to make users aware of the importance and need to take protective measures in the digital field.

That is why proactive threat detection, shares with us 10 basic Tips and tricks that every digital user should incorporate as part of their habits to enjoy technology and the Internet safely and considerably minimize the risks of being a victim of the most common computer threats.

As seen in the previous image, it is possible to divide the tips into three levels: basic, intermediate, or advanced. And while more recommendations could be named, the most important thing is to become truly aware of the risks that exist in the virtual world today and how vital it is and will continue to be to learn how to manage digital security.

10 basic Internet safety rules for all users

1. Use long and complex passwords

Avoid simple and easy-to-guess passwords, such as dates, names, or any of those that year after year are seen in the list of the worst passwords. Another fundamental aspect: do not use the same password for more than one account. Key reuse is one of the worst security practices.

Ideally, when creating a secure password, they should have between 15 and 20 characters, including letters, numbers, uppercase, lowercase, and special characters. It is also a good idea to use a password manager, since these tools not only allow the access credentials to be stored in an orderly manner for all user accounts, but in general, they offer the possibility of creating really strong and unique passwords.

2. Use two-factor authentication on all accounts

The next step to good password management is implementing two-step authentication, also known as two-factor authentication, on each of the accounts and services you use. Activating this option provides a very important additional layer of security that will make it difficult for an attacker to gain access to the accounts, no matter how much they have the username and password.

3. Use a secure Internet connection

In the case of mobile devices such as smartphones, use the data to browse the Internet and avoid – or use with caution and always through a VPN – public Wi-Fi networks, especially if access credentials are to be entered or sensitive information. At home, make sure that the connection to the Wi-Fi network has a strong password and check that the router settings are correct.

4. Correctly configure the privacy of all accounts

There are many good reasons to correctly manage the privacy of the information in each of the platforms and services that are used, since the improper use of personal data, even those that seem most inoffensive, can represent a risk to which the majority Is exposed. Even more so if no precaution is taken to avoid it.

Data such as date of birth, place of work, profession, place of residence, etc. They can be used by scammers to steal identities or perform hoaxes with a well-crafted story from published information. Limiting what information is publicly accessible and maintaining as much control as possible over who can see what is posted can make a difference. If you plan to publish something on the Internet that it is preferable not to see everyone, it may be better not to publish it.

Beyond the published information and how cybercriminals can take advantage of it and even collect it to sell it, privacy settings also imply being attentive to the permissions that are granted to installed applications or services in which an account is created.

5. Back up valuable information

You should be aware that, no matter how careful you are, it can happen to anyone that their computer or phone is lost or stolen. It can also happen that you lose your guard for a moment and become infected with malware by downloading an inappropriate file or application, or that for some other reason you lose access to valuable information. In these cases, having a backup of the most important information becomes, without a doubt, the most precious asset. That’s why you shouldn’t put off organizing your backup properly to secure your most important photos, videos, documents, and files.

6. Keep devices and applications up to date

News is seen daily about the discovery of new vulnerabilities in Operating Systems, tools for daily use, and the release of updates to correct these flaws. Many times, new vulnerabilities are even known which, prior to their discovery, are already being actively exploited by attackers.

Unfortunately, the bad habit of many users of not maintaining the technology they use with the latest installed updates exposes them, since attackers take advantage of these flaws to launch their attacks. In fact, many of the most exploited vulnerabilities today were patched several years ago but are still effective for attackers due to the lack of installation of updates.

7. Only download applications from official stores

When installing an application on the phone, make sure to download it from official stores such as Google Play or the App Store and avoid unknown sources. Cybercriminals often create malicious applications that try to trick users into believing that they are official apps for banks, games, virtual wallets, etc.

Even in official stores, care must be taken because, as has been seen repeatedly, despite the security controls applied by these stores, cybercriminals often find a way to bypass the security mechanisms and manage to publish false apps. So it is also important to read the comments and ratings of other users since there we can find signals in case it is something suspicious. In addition to the applications, care must be taken with the downloads that are made in general. Attackers also seek to distribute malware through the game or program cracks. Therefore, when downloading, you should only trust official sources.

8. Distrust people who meet on the Internet

Social platforms abound today and more and more users, and at a younger age, spend more time interacting with friends and also with strangers. However, social platforms also have a dark side and digital violence is present in various forms, affecting adults and children. Fraud or harassment in its various forms is commonplace in traditional social networks, in apps and online dating platforms, forums, etc. Therefore, having a certain degree of mistrust and caution on the Internet can help you avoid several bad times.

9. Install antimalware solution on computer and phone

Having the devices secured with a reliable security solution that protects against phishing, malware, attachments in emails, or suspicious sites will be a great ally to protect not only the devices but the information on them. Currently, security solutions have many functionalities that take into account current needs, such as the possibility of remotely performing actions to a computer in case of theft or loss, such as blocking it and sending an alert SMS to previously selected users or deleting device data.

10. Keep your guard up with emails, messages and when conducting searches

Beyond the technical considerations mentioned so far, it must be remembered that the human factor is the weakest link in the chain. Therefore, you should always be vigilant and never let your guard down. Keep in mind that at any time you can receive an unexpected email requesting to download something, click on a link or send personal and sensitive information. Also when making purchases online, you should perform due diligence and check the seller’s reputation, the comments of other buyers and not get carried away by offers that are too good to be true.

Finally, when looking for information, be careful with the sites that appear in search engines such as Google, since attackers can alter the results offered by search engines or even use false advertisements to position false sites that impersonate banks, apps, games, stores, etc.

The advice could continue, we could mention other more specific recommendations, but the most important thing is to keep in mind that criminal patterns are changing and cybercriminals always try different strategies to catch users off guard. Knowing what the risks are and taking the necessary security measures to reduce them will make it possible for us to enjoy the benefits that the Internet offers us in a safer way,” concludes Cecilia Pastorino, IT Security Specialist at ESET Latin America Research Laboratory.

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Written by Sapna Verma

Linguist-translator by education. I have been working in the field of advertising journalism for over 10 years.

For over 7 years in journalism. Half of them are as editor. My weakness is doing mini-investigations on new topics.

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